Mary Baker Eddy speaks of Dr. Benjamin Rush as “the famous Philadelphia teacher of medical practice” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 162). Benjamin Rush was most certainly famous. He was the best-known American medical doctor of his time, at home and abroad.
A physician, writer, professor, and scientist, Dr. Rush lived during the tumultuous years of the American Revolution. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, future Presidents of the United States, were fellow patriots and longtime friends of Benjamin Rush. He was with the two men at the Second Continental Congress in 1776. He took his seat in Congress on July 22 and signed the Declaration of Independence less than two weeks later. At thirty years old, Rush was the second youngest signer.
Religion was woven into the young man’s upbringing. His thoughts about Christianity supported his political view that the American colonies should be a republic, not a monarchy. Christianity would help the nation thrive, he felt, because a republic is based on the biblical truths that all people are created equal and must love others as themselves. In one of his many essays, “Of the mode of education proper in a republic,” Dr. Rush wrote, “A Christian cannot fail of being useful to the republic, for his religion teacheth him, that no man ‘liveth to himself.’ ”